This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.
They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. whether it is competitive or not.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. I won't accept them. He says to the salesman. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. And based on the way most people view food shopping. No freebies or add-ons. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. Without blinking an eyelash now. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. he replies. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. I'm buying from you". But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. All this. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. The salesman looks stunned. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. of course you're correct. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 .
and I really can show you how to do it. that you’re NOT that guy. you probably don't need to clip coupons.000 or $50. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". as if they couldn't use an extra $1. week in and week out. like clockwork. it's pretty much a one-time investment. Sure. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets.receipts. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. Read. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. If so.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. You see. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. "I'm not poor!" they insist. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. enjoy. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. and happy savings! 5 . if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. And at the end of the day. and you’ll get the answer immediately. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. I'm being facetious. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. perhaps.000 or more per year. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It".
If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.Randall Putala Author P. 6 . refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime.S. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.
advertising campaign. LET ME COMPARE. 2. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'M CHOOSY. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. highest price. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. OUT OF MY WAY. I'll be out of here in no time. or position on the shelf ). Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'm too busy. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. and pick the cheapest one. 5. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. 3. I'M LOST. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'd like to save money. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. 4. I've got a family to feed. I'M IN A HURRY. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. AND I'M FRUGAL. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I'M IN A HURRY. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I'M IN A HURRY. AND I'M CHOOSY. Time is not as important to me as saving money. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store.
It’s very important. It's that simple. and you will lower your food costs. please read it again. Here. 8 . Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Change your mindset. and you'll lower your food costs. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Now. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. It's that simple. Change your mindset. So do it. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it.eating better and healthier food than theirs.
Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. If this is the case. "there's nothing to eat". This is also known as spending too much on not enough. 4. 3. You have items that you never seem to run out of. or pantry months after the fact. Keep your receipts for one month. Conversely. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. b. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Unhappy campers. Uneaten goods. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. and everyone likes different things from time to time. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . High grocery expenses. c. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. d.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. Everyone is different. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. Insufficient food supply. you may not be making smart choices for your family. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. freezer.
You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Excessive leftovers. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. (More on this subject later in the book. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. item by item. Steer yourself back to the basics. Sticker shock. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. It just looked good at the time. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. Binge snacking. so you did. b. 5. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Your cooking proportions are too large. You're cooking the wrong stuff. but few people notice it. 7. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. so you put it in your cart. keep reading. But something made you want to take that action. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. 6.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. You're cooking too much food. and your budget will 10 .
BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. the print ads in your magazines. pre-cooked. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. and even the signs in the grocery store. 11 . BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. prebagged. you'll all be happier and healthier.thank you for it. or find a way to buy more for less. expensive meals. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. really. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. great. Containment is the key word here. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. and write down notes for this. Rest assured. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. As you master each new step. REALLY. etc. If you are this type of shopper. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Cook for 5 minutes on high. If this works. b. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. If you need more time. Make a simple list by category. and stop there. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. like "3 meat items". until you get it absolutely right. I'M LOST. that will turn out perfectly.these side dishes carefully. etc. small steps to organize your shopping trips. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. Next. For example. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. Wet the potato with running water iii. all is not lost. Keep it simple. you may a problem. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. though. 8 minutes. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . write down the steps: i. Take really. 4. START SMALL. clip them out and put them in an envelope. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. "5 breakfast items". change it to 7 minutes. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv.
while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down.000 raise at work. $60. Some items will be necessities. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop.500 or more per year on groceries. the more you'll save. It just takes practice to know what works. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. down. chock full of the finest foods in the store.500 – $3. you're ready for the master class. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . book. 5. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. you CAN do better if you just review your options. AND I'M CHEAP.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip.000 – $3. down. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. Get cheap. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. and stay cheap. I'M IN A HURRY. and then doing those same things next time you cook. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. down. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. The guy in line behind you. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food.
BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. Learn what works for you. If you plan these side dishes carefully. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. The reason it looks so effortless to them. but you can rely on your own notes. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items.with better recipes. is because cooking is really very simple. Some items will be necessities. 18 . and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and you won't always have a coupon for it. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. you CAN do better if you just review your options. and stay cheap. To save money. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make.
It can be a big help.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. Stand by this realization. If you still don’t understand the connection. seek professional counseling. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. If you do what you've always done. Step 2 – Believe. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. Change is all about visualization at this early stage.. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. you tend to get what you've always gotten. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. and your weight. If you're currently paying $200 per week. you've got to be prepared to try new things. Make yourself accept it. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Seriously. Step 5 – Affirm. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. Step 6 – Reconsider. Write down how they make you feel. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 .Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". visualize yourself paying $100. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. Once you can visualize the change you want.. your mental attitude. Step 4 – Reflect. and what they are doing to your health. Step 3 – Be Flexible. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries.
or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections.” Find a substitute. “I’ve always eaten this. you must mentally shout out. buy it. tofu instead of cheese. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. I’ve always been able to afford it. for the NEW me. your mind may think of it as a reward. Now comes the fun part. and 'do the aisle again. 20 . When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Take it slow. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. “STOP!” Reset your mind. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. Step 7 – Be Humble. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. and if you like it – keep buying it. and enter a new instruction. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. There's a lot for you to learn about food.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. items that cost too much. your refrigerator and your freezer. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. Step 8 – Record.regarding your shopping habits. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. turn around. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. Step 10 – Reject. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. You may be thinking. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter.
and put it in a bank savings account immediately. get 'cash back' equal to that amount. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. 21 . You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days.Step 12 – Rejoice. If you're very diligent. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs.
save. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. it doesn't matter. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. and it's your lucky day. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. When I go shopping. Would you turn it down. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. Love them or hate them. 23 . I feel disappointed. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. They are always looking for ways to save. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. yes – but not poor. and more will be given to you over time. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. In fact. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. She's not exactly poor… Smart.
! 24 . and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. When you arrive at this conclusion.000 per year. let alone shopping for yourself.. using coupons is a waste of time. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office.. and you really do work every moment of every day. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. You probably deserve a break. Benjamin Franklin said it. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. money to blow on a super vacation. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. you're very lucky. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. not me. so take one.. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. a new hot tub. "A penny saved is a penny earned". let alone using coupons.000 or $3. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time.
along with the other techniques described in this book. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. View it however you like. If you use coupons effectively. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. you write a check for $75. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. That's real money.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. It's not rocket science. Instead. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. Trust me. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. “Oh. great. even if you use coupons. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. Yes. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. Some are also for 25 . It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. and it really does stay in your bank account. no” you might say. That is a fact.” Okay.
But guess what? If you don't want it. need and use every day. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want.. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Maybe not today but certainly later in life.products that are overpriced.. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. or don't like it. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. and don't use coupons. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. However. Smart money management never goes out of style. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need.. don't need it. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. you probably don't need to use coupons.. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Then.
you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. regardless of who redeems them. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. enjoy the products. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . not theirs. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). In fact. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. They must replenish the sold product. super-premium items. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. and become repeat customers. the higher the coupon redemption rate. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. and that can be very hard to overcome. the more products they sell. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future.compound into larger debt over time. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. using their coupon to buy their product. Coupons help spur the economy. an affluent shopper. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. they wouldn't issue the coupons. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. etc. higher-priced items. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. They want people to try their products.
So guess what: once you try the product.. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. packaging.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. and on and on for years. And when you go to buy the product again. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. new combinations. new flavors. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . They develop new lines of products. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. the next time. they're actually very smart. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. because they believe that consumers will like them. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. etc. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. REALITY: Again. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. This is the manufacturer's goal. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back.
why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could.? If not. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. home furnishings. it can be fun. 2. Or. you need to save more money. Do you have the very latest clothing. 3. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. if you have some other method to earn $1. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. you've just lost your vote. Case closed. $2.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . and a real waste of time. or simply don't care about money. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. etc. If you are independently wealthy. nickels. 4. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow.000. electronics.000 per year. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. At least not the same tomorrow as today. Examples: 1. REALITY: If you do it right. give some to charity. Save your pennies. couponing is not for you.MYTH 9: I make a good living. you're right: you don't need to save money. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5.000 per year. and couponing is a step in the right direction. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. You’ll feel better about it. and save some for your own use. cars. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5.
. Save money on groceries. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. And for you.you enjoy . it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. But the ends justify the means. Yes. because that is what made them rich. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. you should pursue it. Yes. you're very lucky. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. couponing takes a little effort. Conversely.. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time.
you'll feel better. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. And for you. with the best items in their store. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. 31 . it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition.larger debt over time. They want you in their store. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. If you really don't need to save money. in fact. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies.. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. give it to a real charity.. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. they're actually very. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. and so will they. and that can be very hard to overcome. They don’t worry about overcharging you. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. very smart.
Learn them. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. up to 99¢. Live them. STRATEGY. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption.g. 20 coupon maximum per visit). TACTICS. 33 . and the many rules. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. b. then WORK YOUR PLAN.e. If not. This is the actual implementation of the plan. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. 1. 3. 2. (e. leave immediately and find a store that does. etc. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. up to 60¢. you WILL save money. This is the creation of a PLAN. i. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. up to 50¢.
flavors and variations of the product. They have real value. (can you buy only 1. HYPER VALUES.) 6. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. even low-value coupons. Coupons are negotiable documents. the scanner will catch it instantly. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. e. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. CLIP EVERYTHING. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. 7. Most coupons are brand specific. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. or must you buy 2?) 5. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. If your coupon is expired. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. especially to the grocer who accepts them.g.4. Plus. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud.
they have no chance of getting credit for it. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. So you are really attempting to steal from the store.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. Over the next few weeks.. 35 .. From that point on. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. Do it once too often. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. they start to appear in stores. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it.) As I stated above. At some point near the middle of the promotion. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. If they accept a coupon that is expired. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it.
and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. In areas with only marginal competition. 36 . Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. If you were a product manager at the food company. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. especially senior citizens and families with children. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. In areas with high competition. or offered as a 'BOGO'. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. This is when many products are put on special.
you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. You may want to use a lower-value coupon.29 on sale $1. Again. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. If you don't. Doubling value of the coupon. IF the store has the item on sale. It’s true. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. Store sale. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. BEFORE you shop there. But combined with the sale price. but it will pay off big 37 . Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. When you view the face value of your store coupons.00 $. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. which could net out a greater discount for you. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A.59 $2.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. The most common level you will find is 50¢.55 $1. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. This will take a little practice. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. b. the net savings effect is multiplied.19 As you can see. More about this later. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill.2.
BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. Sometimes. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. the lower the coupon value. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. 2. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. OVERSTOCK. Alternatively. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. EXPIRATION DATE. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. the greater the net discount. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations.time in terms of savings. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. 38 .10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling.
If you were going to buy the item anyway. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. they can buy just one and pay half the price. However. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . 4. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. This is not always the case. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. LOSS LEADER.3. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. If you honestly don't need two of an item. It is your right to know. do not pass up the BOGO deal. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. someone can use the second item. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. and they'll be glad to get it. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. Many times they are store-specific.
look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Box.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. regular price $3. And 40 .00. get one free. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price.50. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Box. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.00. 50¢ off on one box purchase. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.75. You have now saved $2. Buy one at $3. 21 oz.50.25 each. You have now saved $2. for a grand total savings of $4. regular price $3. $1. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. $2.50. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. To keep senior customers happy. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1.25 per box of cereal.75 for one box of cereal.50 for two boxes of cereal. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. 21 oz.
systematic couponing. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. and not clip it. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. not Brand B or Brand C. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. a feeling of euphoria and power.69 $1.29 50¢ $1.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. it's the thrill of the hunt. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. over and over again. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . For example. and they deserve the sale it generates. Plus. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. If you follow my techniques for regular. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. You might like the brands you haven't tried. After all. OR. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. But as you can see in our example.
and sign wording.50 per package). This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. 42 . Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon.99 per individual package. They're great for finicky eaters. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. The industry calls these "line extensions". "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". you'd pay about $7. because they often won't scan properly. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. "Singles". but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. For example. sign placement. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. SIGNS LIE. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5.00 extra for the same amount of meat. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. All four are frozen dinners. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale.99 for two (net cost $2. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand.
don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. there is nothing you can do about it. And once you've left the store. Do I need two of this item. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. and the coupon will be authorized.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. believe what you verify before you check out. they're not so certain. "Save $1. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. so you will have technically purchased two. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. because you must buy two of them. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. "that item was on sale last week. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. Check the dates first." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. i. especially when you know you're right. When an item rings up wrong.00 on 2". but it's not on sale now. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. All of a sudden. FLYERS LIE. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. So don't believe what you see. 43 . But you will only be charged for one item. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. SALES CLERKS LIE. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part.e.
For example.00). One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. bottle only. bottle. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. in the example above. be sure to read the fine print. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies.000 items in the typical grocery store. bottle. the store's 44 . and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. In other words. bottle. So you must spend $7. that is the rule. In most cases.35). You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. You have to understand that there are over 10. If in doubt. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. and paying the regular price for your milk. It may require a matching purchase. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. The same rule applies to flavors. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. box of our cereal. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this.
You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit.50 for the milk. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. they're marked down to 50¢.70 in doubled value for these coupons. they offer them at 50% off. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. you could get $1. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line.00. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. IT MUST BE ON SALE. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. plus the cashier will take off the $1.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. you are now getting the peaches for FREE.33 per box.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. In most cases. use it. It just doesn't get any better than this. Instead of 99¢. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. You'll now be paying $4. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. typically on a 45 . The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. BONUS BUYS. You never know until you try. or approximately $1. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. i.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. the system won't work. $40. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.e. I'm 50 . reading a magazine or talking on the phone.e. $5. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. Yes. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. You should simply spend the extra $30.
and. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. It's like anything else – a diet. it can be embarrassing. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 .being sarcastic. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. I use a small wicker basket. a hobby. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. I find that it helps to set a specific time. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. Canned Goods. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. it can actually be illegal. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. if you do it knowingly. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. Dairy. Then. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. When you have the time. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. When it's time to do my sorting. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. It's bad form. obviously don't clip that coupon. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it.
and throw away my pile of expired coupons. If you do this. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. i. etc. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes.e. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. Then. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. Do it the same way each week. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. baked goods. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. and easier to stick to. this doesn't 52 . meats. If you follow the expert's advice.. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. 60. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. when I'm done. For example. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. Of course. It's a good thought. and do it all at once. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it.& Store Discount categories. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. it’s just mentally easier. Of course. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. Remember. Add in your drive time home. you can develop your own routine. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. bread & cereal is always top right. so I tend to focus on those most of all. even 90 minutes. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. etc.
so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1.49. and that's the place to start shopping first. your net cost of buying it will be $1. 2.99. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. Save the bread. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. Plus. you will find that 53 . But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. $1.49.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. When you have an appealing coupon. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. SCAN. POCKET. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it.e. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. because Brand B is on sale for $2.99.00 off. MATCH. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. dairy products. meat and frozen foods for last. i. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. you'll pay $2. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale.00 off coupon. 3. With your dollar off. right? WRONG! In this case. And chances are. It takes a little discipline. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place.apply to produce. 4. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. As an even better value proposition.
See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. I can assure you. Most people are reactive shoppers. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. REVIEW. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. But when they're cooked and on your table. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. And frankly. At my local dollar store. I know. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). they don't shut down the production line. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. Buy two cans of an identical item. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. they typically won't know the difference. Yes. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. You'll find that in most stores. Yes. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. and used the generic-brand labels. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. Cook both items. They carry lots of 54 . they have a great food products section. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. and serve them up in identical dishes. They change the labels! If you doubt this. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. I prefer the 'baby' peas. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. which go for about three times the cost of generic. try and run a taste-test contest with your family.
But if you try them. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. but it's actually very important. for example. kitchen select soup. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. but in some cases it is. This may seem like a really dumb step. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. Check the brand name. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. One top brand sells regular soup. Last but not the least. By this. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. In fact. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. home-style soup. it tastes just like the leading brand. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. POCKET.condiments and sauces. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. Most of the biggest. chunky soup. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product.. size. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. When you taste the sauce. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. etc. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. some of them will be downright awful. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. flavor. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. POCKET the coupon. as well as the expiration date. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. MATCH. Take soup.
the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. Again. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. Just make sure you have a true system. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. if I find that I have an expired coupon. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. but that's just a personal preference. they won't be redeemed. on every shopping trip. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. And it WILL add up over time. but now it's gone. During the course of my shopping trip. Again. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. Create your own system or use mine. you will systematically save money. you can't REDEEM them. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption.when you are buying your groceries. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. I use my left pocket. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. and putting them all in one safe secure place. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. and follow it like clockwork. If you do things the same way each week.
you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. and you'll get better at them day after day. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly.. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. once you leave the store. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. In other words. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping.. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. Remember. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. similarly. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. Do things the same way every time. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store.
Locate a paper shredder. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. try taking the 'Currency vs. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. Mint. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Step 2. *NOTE: Destruction of U. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. Coupon Litmus Test'. and one by a food manufacturer. Do not actually implement this test. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. Turn the shredder on. Step 4. chances are there is one somewhere in your office.. Step 5. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons.S. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. Now. currency is illegal. Step 1. Wake up and smell the mocha java. and for shock value. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Okay.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one.Chapter 8: The Currency vs.!) Step 3. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1.* (Hey wait.S. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. (Feels good..) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. too. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. people! 59 . I don’t waste REAL money.
and to be perfectly honest with you. If this is your situation. you're throwing away cash. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. Some people say. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. When you think you're getting a $3. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. It's all just part of the process. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. store sells single item for half the price.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks.59 for it. coupon in hand. 60 . you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. I sometimes get in a hurry. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. Then.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes.
All of these items feature a barcode. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. 4. SCAN. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter.Chapter 9: Clubs. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . the regular price. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. You must join every club. the club member's price. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. Here's how these clubs work: 1. As any astute shopper knows. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. You join the club. They will typically show two prices: A. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. SHOP. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. GET ANALYZED. with a price. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. In most stores. and B. 3. Often. 2. JOIN. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. When you go to check out.
You are a powerhouse consumer.99'. Of course. "Big Brother" is alive and well. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay.e. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. '2 for $3. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. i. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. when the normal price of a single item is $2. But as a member of a specific demographic group. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10.19. For example.information is not extremely valuable by itself. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . let's say that your household income is between $75. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. so they make the most money off of you.000. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level.000 and $80. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product.
That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. Welcome to the Maze. As a club member. REGISTRATION. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. although they will. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. children's age. etc. CLUB MEMBER CODE. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. too. Now. they are in essence telling the store manager. you're not too far off the mark. you can see it below the barcode on the package. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). You need to join them. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age.will pay any cost for a particular item. You tell them your name. slightly more sinister. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. in infinite detail. let's look at how this happens: 1. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. PRODUCT CODE. etc. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. Every item in the store carries a product code. 2. you have to fill out a registration form. Guess what product that code 63 . The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. marital status. 3. The computer knows what every item is. street address.
and sold it for years. In fact. 4. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. Why would they do this to you. packaged it. The ultimate solution being. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. in a word. SHARED DATA. does it? No.6 that month. The computer knows who you are.represents? It's YOU. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. shipped it. where you live.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. the top 1/10th of that 64 . so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. The information saves them time. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. NO. Scary stuff. and what you buy. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1.4 bottle level dropped to 0. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. They've picked it. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. but prefer the name brand variety. no. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price.1 bottles per month. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster.
3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. not just the wealthiest households. but she's doing alright. because she's buying 4. After all.pyramid is the affluent markets. So the kids are happy. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. To see how this works. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. but the big family-size boxes. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. if only she would try them. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. Based on sheer numbers. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. You're part of a larger consumer group. ZERO 65 . 5. Betty doesn't make a huge income.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
69 . Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. But in my book. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. they are in essence telling the store manager. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. for every item in the store. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. every day. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. thank you. even if you only shop there once or twice a year.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. and they will continue to do it in the future. you "don't have time" to save money. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. the bargains are well worth it. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain.
cell phones and other high-ticket items. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts.O. 70 . If you learn how to play their game. or a P. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. not just the wealthiest households. The sooner you start the process. Of course. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. HDTV sets. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. Box. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. you'll get the card immediately. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. But coupons are coming your way. get a card at the grocery store in that area. You'll get more offers and better values over time. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically.
just to pick up their rebate club flyer. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. It's not always true.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. If you visit 3 stores a month. When it comes to pharmacies. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. hair coloring. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. people are definitely creatures of habit. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. hard-working youth of America.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. etc. even if you don't normally shop there. My record on free items is $62 in one month. What is a rebate club? Simply put. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. when they're 71 .800 a year. toupee wax. this one technique alone could save you over $1. it's the seniors.
but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. In most drug stores. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. i. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. it's really free. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. In other words. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. You have to check these carefully.) 3.99 rebate for buying it. 72 4.00 off the purchase price of the item. Others will be $1. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. Apparently. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. 2. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. REVIEW THE OFFERS. but it's really more trouble than it's worth.00. $2.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. a $7.e. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book.00 or $3. CHECK THE OFFER DATES.99 item. Be sure to process your . but they only tell you this in the fine print. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer.00 rebate on a $2.
READ THE REQUIREMENTS. which is the next critical point. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. After a few months. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. 5. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. The retailers call this "breakage". but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. you'll have proof of mailing it in. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. 7. 6. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. or they will refuse it. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. exactly the way they say it. if you haven't gotten your rebate. What you DON'T want to do is say. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. Read the fine print.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. For most clubs. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer.
USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. rather than have them issue you a check. Plus. So always use the credit before using real cash. It may seem trivial. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. and you can't turn it in for cash. it's good money management. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. 8. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. Plus. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. then pay any remaining balance with cash. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. Using my photocopies. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. 9. This may seem like a lot of work. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me.within the proper timeframe. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. CASH SECOND. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. use it first when making purchases at the store. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . Proving this would be difficult.
when the rebate check arrives.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. then.00 off coupons on several others. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. that may be a little bit exaggerated. The headline read. however: • No Doubling. Well. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. If you are really cash-strapped. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. (No big deal here. I found a $2. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3.00 off. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. Then. So I could easily get a total of $8.days while your rebate form is being processed.) 75 .00 store coupon issued by the retailer. In most grocery stores. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. You only have to do this once. and $1. Alarms will go off." In checking the other coupons. Why is it. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. Sorry – there is no way around this one. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. if you do it right. The Most Amazing.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. at the same time. All that said. however. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. Saving $8. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. When the drug store puts out savings like this. even if you don't normally shop there. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. If you visit 3 stores a month. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2.• No Price Reductions.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items.800 a year. this one technique alone could save you over $1. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.
In this case. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum.50 per item purchased. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. circling each of the ten on the receipt. 2. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. read it. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. Okay. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. Also. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. assume that their 77 . The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. 1. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. READ THE FINE PRINT.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. so this one is obvious.
49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible. yogurt drinks.00) .00 (qty.50 $0.39 $11. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3. 3.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.59 $0.80 (40¢ coupon) $0. kids' fruit snacks. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.50 - $2. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO. In one example.78 Quantity 2 ($0.09 $2. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.89 $2.30) $0.30) $0.39 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.09 $3.30 ($5.08 $3.99 FINAL COST $24. they're also on sale quite frequently.50 $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.09 $1.89 Can Green Beans $1. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.00 per can.50 $0. 2) $0.39 $0. b.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.29 ($0. The soup line is already heavily couponed.00 ($13.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.39 $1. Here's why: a.49 $19.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.50 $0.50 $0.49 $2. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer. To get the maximum value for your effort.99 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.99 $1. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.78 $0. c.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.89 $3.01) $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.50 $0.50 $1.59 Baking Mix $3. but they're not shown in the photo.
$20 or $30 a month on groceries. 79 . the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries.As you can see. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. But if you DO make the effort. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. you can save an extra $10. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. It doesn't sound like much.
let's look at a fictitious family. or a total of $21. – items they use each and every day.500 per year after taxes. if they are to remain viable and profitable. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). spices. dairy products. 81 . This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. We're talking about flour. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. etc.43 per day on meals. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. and 'brown bags' their lunches. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. For an example. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives.
reduce or eliminate their savings. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. month after month. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. At a restaurant. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. cancel their insurance. month after month. At the Jones household. 82 . This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible.43 per day. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. the family must do without new clothing. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. or reduce in one of the other areas. Often. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. the business will fail. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin.
that's fine. If you want to change your diet. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. household supplies and personal care items. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. I'm not a doctor. go see your doctor. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. The big jar typically contains twice as much. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. 83 . but only costs about 40% to 50% more. They are: • BUY BIG. let's leave it at that. you know. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. That's all. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. Get larger sizes of items. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. Mom needs a break too. get some professional advice. Many writers have covered that territory. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. some eggs. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. and put a plan in place. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. while paying less for them. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. and/or kids in school. a social life.
pork. 84 . As long as you will eventually consume the item. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. rice and sauce. Again.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. if it's available now at half the cost or below. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. beef. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. plus chopped broccoli. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. Grits. etc. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. stock up & save. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Stock up when items are on sale. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu.00 to $6.00. Sweet Potatoes. • BUY BASIC. Currently. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. Bulgar Wheat. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb.
One or two garlic cloves. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. either. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. and that's what dinnertime is all about. and they're not idiots. sliced .The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. the garlic isn't really zingy. So overall. 85 .One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces.Various spices in minute amounts . . In some cases. cooked and frozen a long time ago. cook on low for about 10 minutes.One or two cooked carrots. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher.Two or three cups of cooked rice . But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. and it's ready to serve. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen.Two or three cups of chopped. cooked broccoli . it's an okay meal. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. chopped . It's sustenance. savoring the taste. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. but nothing to rave about. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. because it was chopped. And.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry.1/4 cup of soy sauce .
you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. it's made of bread and spices. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. or you eat like a church mouse. the more you will lower your cost of food. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. For example. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. Just remember this: in most cases. Is it bad stuff? Well.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. And in many cases. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. the lower the cost per serving. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. But for everyone / everything else. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. resulting in better quality for less money. or the items you buy are very perishable. 86 . Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. and you have a coupon for them. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. you can reduce your total cost of food. and they can save you a lot of time. buying small makes sense. the bigger the package. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. If you are cooking for one. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. IF you were starting from scratch. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. so they'll be on hand when you need them. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. many.
The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. grab it. the more you will lower your cost of food. 87 . but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. You'll be investing a little cash now. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. If it's a non-perishable item.
You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant.Chapter 14: Real Food. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. It rarely needs any improvement. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. they're tremendous in a million different ways. there are exceptions to every rule. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. Example: a potato. Of course. of course. It's hard to top perfection. Cook it until tender. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. Cook them. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. sauté them – you can do a 1. Example: a tomato. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. and it's wonderful on the palate. whip them. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. very simple. simple. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. Don't get me started. Yes. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. With the majority of foods. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. 89 . Granted. fry them. and delicious.001 things with a potato. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains.
Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. TACOS. if you approach it correctly. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. let alone crack open the recipe book. sour cream or plain yogurt. Shake some sea salt on the outside. I don't have time to cook". bacon bits.) 2. (And by the way. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. I have to use premade mixes. In reality. butter or butter substitute. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. you have a valid point. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. BAKED POTATO. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1.Okay. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. etc. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. 90 . Wash it off. And yes. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). I want to change the way you think about cooking. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. and the end results are always perfect. Poke holes in it with a fork. To make my point. Take a taco shell out of the package. too. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. Take a potato. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. Serve with salsa.
they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. and heat on low for 5 minutes. add some pepper and salt. 4. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. 5. but you only have to stir them once in a while. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients.us. RAMEN NOODLES. it will be good as new. elbow. It's fast. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. and it's very tasty. Not too exciting. toss in the noodles. RICE WITH VEGGIES. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. whatever.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. and they're ready in 3 minutes. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. You know what these are. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. Toss them into the finished soup. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. and add that. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. drain.3. To top it. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. so it's very cheap as well. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. As I mentioned above. The secret to innovative.grocerysavings. So vary your enhancements. maybe some squash and carrots. 91 . When they're done. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. put into a bowl. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. add a little water.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. bowties. Sure. chop up a tomato. If you're constantly stretched for time. (For convenience.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. if you approach it correctly.experiment. healthier food every day. If you start building a list of quick. you can cut your food costs in half. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. It's hard to top perfection. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. Plus. you'll be saving LOTS of money. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. If it is. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. 92 . too. try new things. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. and you'll eat better. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking.
It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. This doesn't have to be expensive. One cup of rice. easy to remember. Set your timer to 10 minutes. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. Easy. If you're cooking-challenged. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. two cups of water. 93 . you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. Once you've got your own system down. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. nutritious dinner.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. Stir it once in a while. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. (HINT: boil a pot of water. and many just about do all the work for you.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. cook 'em a few minutes more. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. the rest is a cakewalk. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. • If you can learn to make rice. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. Heck.
blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. But hey. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. It's our job to keep the family happy. You don't need to watch it. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. Peel an onion. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. stir it or tend to it in any way. kids just love rice. For some reason. vegetables. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. PRESSURE COOKER.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. RICE COOKER. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. The same thing goes for carrots. water and salt / pepper in the pot. and they'll love you back all the more. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. Plus. And the bowl. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. Now. so there's not a lot of clean-up. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. plug it in. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). squash – basically any hard vegetable. Plus. these scare the daylights out of most people. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. press the "chop" button. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. scallions. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. It’s the ideal cooking helper. and save. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. Buy a huge bag. You dump your ingredients in. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. and your meat will fall off the fork. cool for 30 minutes. garlic. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender.
Yes. turn up the heat. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. Yes. Plus. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. cauliflower. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. tender and ready-to-eat. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. Add 3/4 cup water. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli.you've ever had. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. Mix up some tempura batter. I like to remove them. It's really a great appliance. But admit your vice and face your fears. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Close the pressure cooker. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. They'll be fully-cooked. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. it's a nutritional crime. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. and your veggies are ready to serve.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. DEEP FRYER. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. try this. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer.) Get over the fear. top with bread crumbs. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. Now. 95 .
and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. and you don’t skin your knuckles. hearty breakfast or side dish. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. of course. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. Oil your griddle lightly. The #1 use.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. is to make pancakes.) Grate an onion as well. 96 . This appliance is indispensable in my household. Plus. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. The result is a flavorful. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well.
– There's no time to cook.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Now. and the way you prepare your meals.I hate to cook. the recipes you use (or don't use). You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff.There's no time to cook. add the glop. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. . Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. Again. consider the alternative answers. .I'm too busy to shop. For everyone else. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. – I'm too busy to shop. Plus. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. . see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. and you 97 . Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Then. heat the glop and dish it up.
But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. I call this QUICK COOKING. though. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time.can save time. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. and lower your food costs. It will make your meals extra special. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. enjoy better meals. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. in this case). with almost no additional 98 . The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. They eat what they're given. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. – I hate to cook. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. simple meals that your family will love. because it's what they've always eaten. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. because it's all that they know. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. in the interest of saving time. You might be surprised on this one. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. add a few pennies worth of spices. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. and enjoy it a whole lot more. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. To avoid cooking. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. Take it one step at a time. they don't expect anything better.
and how you're doing it. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. cheese. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan.large drum. dry potato flakes. frozen or tube biscuit dough.fresh potato wedges. pull out a pan. in the case of packaged foods). turn on the stove. For the sake of this discussion. The chef (or food manager. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . Okay. carrots. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can.dry Potatoes . With just a few minutes of planning. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. and the high-priced alternatives they replace.canned Fresh broccoli.investment of your time. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. rip open a bag. etc. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. whatever you choose to cook. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. etc. a vegan or a Venutian. Tomatoes . delicious recipes. any fresh vegetable Boneless. beans.uncooked Oatmeal . Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients.
even if 100 . store. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically.e. let's look at: a. Determine what you have to work with first (i. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. The way you plan your menus. (more about this later). Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. what's cheapest / freshest). The way you buy these items. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. b. having them accessible. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. c.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. The best way for YOU to cook. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.
then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. 101 . Determine what you have to work with first (i. what's cheapest / freshest).e.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. simple meals that your family will love. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. you CAN learn to quick fast. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. with almost no additional investment of your time.
The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. When an item is in abundance. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. It may be the farmer's market. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. the fresh seafood market. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . How to Cook Delicious. technically they can. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. If shrimp is on sale. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. or the wholesale meat market. Surely. But that doesn't mean people will pay. tonight's special will be shrimp. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. tonight's special will be flounder. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. Think of your own dining experiences. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance.
See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. chicken bouillon.e. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. just add a little water. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. 2 parts water. and vegetables. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. sashimi (imitation crab). saffron or other spices. Sounds pretty easy. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). For egg fu yung. Let it steam for a few minutes. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. Add a splash of teriyaki. 104 . straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. if you like it richer. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. Microwave for about 3 minutes. For fried rice. nothing could be simpler. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. soy sauce. beef. cover and heat. then add your other ingredients. Recipes. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. For families on the go. Worcestershire sauce. To reheat. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. i. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. 2 parts water (or milk. If your meals are more infrequent. in a matter of minutes.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. Try it.
store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. These additives have 105 . bag. mashed. If you're careful about what you put on them. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland.. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. for variety.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. hot sauce. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Recipes: Again. Again. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. Here are a few ideas. full of fiber. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course.50 for a 5-lb. Add a little cheese. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. to make a tasty meal. and tasty. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. They're fat free. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. They'll only keep for a few days. etc. so only cook what you can use fairly soon.00 or $2. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. Or. Dinner: Serve them baked. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. etc. Then.. bake. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. chopped scallions. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. bacon bits. Add cheese. of course…). You can boil. sour cream. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. they can be a healthy choice too. etc. cooked broccoli.
and many ethnic foods from around the world. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. In the south. You're eliminating all of the additives. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. vegetarian cooking. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. Plus. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil.almost no fat or calories. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. Yes. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. The Irish knew this centuries ago. more food volume. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. But for busy people they can be an excellent. In the summer.
Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. unique taste and nutrients. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. the lighter the seasoning the better. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. potatoes. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. heart disease. cover with plastic wrap. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . add a little water. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. the more taste it will have. buy them. beets. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. put the dish in a microwave. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. tastiest items you can buy in a store. strap a rubber band around the dish. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. and enjoy meals more. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base.than the jars of sauce. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. and other serious diseases. carrots. fast cook as described above. and your family will begin to eat healthier. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. and you'll probably pay less. feel better. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better.
. especially when they're 3/$1. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. Normally. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). If you don't like this. 108 . as appropriate. the bacon bits are a bargain. If you're a bacon lover.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. (Yes. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. . Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. .Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. you can always use regular butter or margarine. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. Of course.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. Okay. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. with some water and simple spices.Put into a big pot. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. they're only 99¢ at the drug store.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. The recipe is extremely simple: . but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. . buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great.
Serve and enjoy. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. or freezing some for later. To reheat. pork or lamb. • For a cream sauce.) . If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. add a little milk. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. Of course. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. but if you have cubed beef. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes.. add some white or red wine to the dish. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. sour cream. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). etc.) • For meat dishes. margarine. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. Also. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. To thicken. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. • For a little European flair.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. SLOWLY add 109 . A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft.
and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. • To stretch your soup / stew. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. just prior to serving.00. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. You can also make a paste out of flour. salt and a little baking powder. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. Often. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. and excite your family's taste buds. water. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. if 110 . make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time.
Cheddar or Mozzarella. all pork comes from a pig. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. using a food processor with a grater blade. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. you can buy them while they are on sale. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home.79. Buy a half-gallon or gallon.00 each. Colby. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. and you can really save. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. As long as you have a method of storing these items. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Swiss. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. Yes. Then. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. so get the bargains whenever you can. you can grate Monterrey Jack. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. Prices these days can change from week to week.you don't have a food processor at home. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. Sure. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use.
It's all in the cooking process.into excellent. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. it takes time. enjoyable meals. all bonein breast sections.Skin on Boneless Breasts . What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. But the difference in cost can be significant. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. with all drumsticks. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. etc. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. breasts with wings attached. The higher up this chain you buy. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. the less you will pay. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. including drumsticks. the higher the price you pay. It's messy. but this is simply not practical for many people. Boneless Breasts . or a few pennies worth of seasoning. 112 . Bone-in Chicken Sections. Often. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. From lowest to highest price.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . Or. the lower down the chain you buy. if you're willing to rebag them.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. flavorful. thigh sections. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. all wings. etc.
With a pressure cooker. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. and look for the best value you can. Replace the roast. salt and shortening).Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. and surround with cleaned. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. and it will please a huge. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . hungry crowd. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. 3. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. I add some carrots. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. just buy what you prefer. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. onions. etc. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. celery. potatoes that I have cooked separately. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. and bake for about 15 minutes. the slower it needs to be cooked. 2. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. For example. which you like. If you don't have a pressure cooker. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. it comes with your pressure cooker. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. carrots. onions. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat.
If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. The longer you let the pot sit. I like to add chopped garlic. so there's no need to worry about your health. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. And if you don't drain away all the fat. 8. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. and it will always come out great. This way it will tenderize better.like a red sauce. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. the more tender your beef will be. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. If you can't wait. 7. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. but leave the cooker on the burner. 6. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. 5. let the pressure go down naturally. salt and pepper. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. Add about 2 cups of water. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. Regarding chopped or ground beef. 4. which will be very evident when you cook it. If you want to serve your family hot. If you can. Turn the heat off. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . drain it well after cooking.
Here are some very simple. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. potatoes. MARINARA SAUCE. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. you can keep your food costs low. Once you've mastered these sauces. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. As mentioned earlier. You could buy pre-made sauces.the higher-priced cuts. beef. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible.). Then. With a little resourcefulness. pork or lamb. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. If you family is bored with the food you cook. you can make a better sauce 115 . meats. For vegetarians. For meat-eaters. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the core element is one or more vegetables. If you are typically stressed for time. the core element is chicken. if you're serving single portions. etc. the secondary element is rice. Variety is the spice of life. healthy and flavorful meals. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. rice. Or. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. the secondary element is rice or other grains. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. noodles. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. potatoes or other vegetables. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers.
Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. Top with grated cheese. but it does take extra time…). Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. and when they're almost done. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. then serve over cooked pasta. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. To make a delicious marinara sauce. Top with chopped chives for color. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. start on your sauce. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. if available). Yes. stirring occasionally. When they are transparent but not browned. start with a small carton of heavy cream. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. For example. If you like. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. I find that kids like it better without any spices). but margarine will do). If your family likes mushrooms. but if your goal is to impress. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. this will work every time.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. stirring constantly. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. CREAM SAUCE. and you've got a great presentation. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. MUSHROOM SAUCE. When the butter 116 . fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil.
SOUR CREAM SAUCE. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. remove the seeds. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. Reduce heat to low. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. YOGURT SAUCE. immediately take it off the stove. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. LEMON JUICE. Simply add some parsley. PESTO. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 .) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. etc. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Heat through. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. Pecorino. stews and other recipes. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. ideal for special occasions. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. but do not boil. stir and store.starts to burn. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. For variety. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. 1 tsp. Parmesan. and pour it over your noodles. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. stirring constantly. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. Top with grated hard cheese.
Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. typically found in health-food stores. Stir in a half cup white wine. but it's much better in the long run. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Cook for 10 min. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. vegetables or any core item combination. In India. they serve it over chicken and lamb. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. broiled or 118 . Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. stirring constantly. stirring constantly. on medium heat. ground cardamom. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. ground red pepper. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Slice 1 lb. stirring constantly.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. This sauce is a bit exotic. Cook for 5 minutes. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. 3 tsp. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. ground fennel. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. In a clutch. ground coriander. it will require stirring. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity.that is sure to impress. 2 tsp. and add salt & pepper to taste. but once you get a craving for it. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). chopped fresh ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. served as a dipping sauce. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta.) Serve over barbecued. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. 1 tsp. from India). then reheat prior to serving. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. 2 tsp. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. Fry until wilted and pale brown. 1 tsp. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. Top with grated cheese. minced very fine.
Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. If you are cheap like me. use the oil only and not the peppers. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). hot chili paste. Blend the tastes. 1 tbl. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. olive oil and beat 119 . minced ginger root and 2 tbl. warm water. Add 1 tsp. In a small jar. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. Soy sauce. 3 tbl. Soy sauce. salt & pepper to taste.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. sugar. a half tsp. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Start with 3 tbl. ginger. 1 tbs. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. HOT CHILI SAUCE. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. most people prefer no MSG). you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes.fried chicken. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. To make hot oil. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. If you like things on the hot side. When using. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. finely-chopped ginger. then salt. mix 1 tsp. In a small cup. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Add chopped garlic. vegetable. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. of sugar. or more hot oil (see below). if desired. 1 tbl. half tsp. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. or your choice of core ingredient. They work great. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). a hlaf tsp. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. 1 tsp. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. Mix until blended. (optional. sugar. Worcestershire sauce).
and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. This is also a Cajun recipe. Worcestershire sauce. minced parsley. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. beating after each ingredient. 1/4 tsp. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. 1/4 tsp. 3 tsp. Add 1 tsp. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. and cooks very quickly. In a small cup. 1 tblsp. As you can see.vigorously. prepared horseradish. lemon juice. 3 tbsp. each of cayenne pepper. MEUNIERE SAUCE. 2 tsp. ideal over seafood. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. These are but a few of the many. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. Whisk until blended. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. In a small saucepan. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt. 1 tsp. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. dried oregano and dried thyme. Blend in 2 tsp. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. Simmer until thickened. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. Add 1 tsp. Bring to a simmer. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Add salt if desired. 120 . Add 3 tsp. 1 tsp. For sheer elegance. Louisiana hot sauce. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. ketchup. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Add to your list of sauces. chopped green onions. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. dry white wine.
BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. But the difference in cost can be significant. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. as long as you have a method of storing these items. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. more food volume. the lower down the chain that you buy. you need to buy them while they are on sale. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. The higher up this chain that you buy. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. The Irish knew this centuries ago. Often. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. and excite your family's taste buds. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. so get the bargains whenever you can. If your family is bored with the food you cook. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. the less you will pay. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. Prices these days can change from week to week. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 .
).can make meals new & exciting again. noodles. potatoes. 122 . And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. you can keep your food costs low. etc.
but it can also be very expensive.50.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. We use the sugar-free varieties. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. or if you just don't like them. Choose the storebrand. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. buy the quart. And in many cases. some ice.00 or more at the burger joints. You can make them at home using a blender. 123 . and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. • Kids love slushees. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. $2. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". and serve in a glass with ice. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. but they cost $1. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less.
If you want to implement portion control. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. 124 . Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. • If you give your kids snacks for school. you cut off a section of pouch material. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. Now. If you are super-diligent about this. if it’s an item you buy every month. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. The net result: one 5 lb. but lower your total food bill. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. Plus. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. purchase can last for a full month. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. You'll accomplish the same goal. they cost about half as much. Does it make a difference? Well. With one of these machines.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. fill it with your food. by weight. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. You know. here’s the advantage.
You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. It should make you feel smarter. the need to clean. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. etc. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. rubbing alcohol. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. etc. and by buying big you won't be running out as often.. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. vinegar.. This same type of product. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. bathroom cleaner. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. oven cleaner. can be made out of a combination of water.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store.. ammonia. buy the big container and use a coupon. etc. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. For example. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. this stuff won't go bad. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. dishwasher soap. baking soda. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4.. • Shop at the dollar stores.
When you see bargains like this. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. The program costs you nothing extra. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. Helping to provide a 126 . Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. With this program. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Our furry friends need help. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill.
Of course. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. 127 . what's the point? Life is too short. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. Rather than sacrifice quality. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. you're not using the system correctly. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items.
get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. You can use plastic bags. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. or if you are especially resourceful. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. 128 . BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings.
and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. (techie note only. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. ignore this if you find it confusing. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. This way. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. So when you encounter these 'surveys'.” I discovered something surprising about this. but it sure appeared to me that the food . It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. but you currently use a competing brand. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. How do I know this? Recently. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. I tend to be cynical. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. I thought it was an error. so I logged out and logged back in again. Just to see what would happen. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains.the coupon: 1. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case.
medicine.25 ($1.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. etc. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print.29 minus $0.29 per box $0. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1.65 ($1. magazines.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. CoolSavings. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. On a recent visit. Eversave.com. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.com. Here are some coupon sites to visit. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance.
but you do pay for each coupon. Plus. CentsOff.com. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢.95 annual fee however.A.com. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. You can order multiples of the same coupon. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. up until the expiration date of the coupon. This site is well organized. This site requires you to register with minimal information. so you will be directed here from many other sites. But overall. Here. you can stock up on the specific coupon. then pay an additional $8. Plus.com. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. This site requires that you pay a $7. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . On this site.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. personal and cleaning products and more. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons.50 fee to join. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. Thecouponclippers. Times. gourmet food items. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. you don’t pay an annual fee. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. it displays the specific coupons available by category. etc. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. and you get to choose by specific brand names. There is a $99. Coupons.com. you can plan your savings over time.OnlineCoupons. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L.com. plus a 50¢ administration fee. the Baltimore Sun.
etc. however. rebates and regional offers posted here. Plus. Thefrugalshopper. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price." GroceryDiscounts. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. The site simply links to EverSave.us. But visit it. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge.com. too! Fatwallet.com. MyClipper. It's like having 230. The food industry giants monitor this site. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here.000 friends to ask advice from. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons.S. Plus. value and guidance. shopping. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. entertainment. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U.com. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good.com for grocery discounts. There are no grocery coupons on this site.Troop or church social group. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. This is the author’s web site. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. 133 . As posted on their site. so I really can’t toot my own horn. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. many leading to the sites listed above. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. and see what you think.
Knowledge = cash savings for you. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. Chances are. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Plus. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. 134 . and make a new friend.
When you're not moving. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. they're 135 .Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. So if you see someone lurking nearby. Cart Courtesy. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. one way or another. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. be aware of where you left your cart. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. Okay. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. It was Honore De Balzac who said. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. Shelf Surfing. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. Similarly. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness".
trying to make it through their shift. as will your cashier. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. you can accept your error. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. and simply walk away from the service counter. like you and me. 136 . if you’re wrong. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. So make your choice and move on. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. apologize. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. Cashier Courtesy. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars.. So give her a break.. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. So give them a break. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Plus. And. They’re just people. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. they’ll never let you live it down. Plus. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). as well.probably waiting for you to move. try. Instead of. she’s there to help you. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. If you have a discrepancy on a price. Plus.
walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. Instead. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. 137 .Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register.
you can purchase this same item for $3. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. for example. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices.99.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. regular price $7. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. many 139 . A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. so they don't have to search for the price. Let’s say. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. The bad news is.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. In other words. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores.
and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. Make Saving a Habit.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. they don't know any other way. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. And honestly. 140 . but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. when you need those three or four items. Speed Shopping. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. I locate the sale items. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store.m. you will save money on food. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need.m.e. Most of the time. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. Now. when you're reading the Sunday paper. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. i. I may find only three or four coupons. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. "Acme Grocery". many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. All this is great. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. In time.
The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. (Is that unethical. nothing is better than fresh basil. or just not be usable. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. So it was well worth my time to complain. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. he spit it out. If you have a patio or deck. etc. Turn this to your advantage. and they all spit it out. Okay. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. Once in a blue moon. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. it's nothing like that. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs.00 off coupons for their other products. Start a Soup Night.Never Settle for Poor Quality. Try it. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. If it's defective. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. parsley. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. taste horrible. thyme. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. If you like gourmet cooking. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. return it to the store for a new one. actually. cilantro. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. CRAZY??? No.
without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. It makes a terrific dinner. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. get your money back or get a replacement. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. If they're defective. you will habitually save on food. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious.for ﬁ the price or less. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. 142 . you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. using your breadmaker. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month.
I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. regardless of how time-challenged you are. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . there you have it. You can shop quickly and efficiently. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process.Closing Notes Well. You don't have to settle for second best. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. Good shopping to you all.
Limited.Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.manufacturer's coupons CRT . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Buy one get one free Catalina . address. usually has a red border C/O .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .National Brand Qualifier 144 .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .In search of LTD .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 . zip code NB .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .cents off coupon Codes . HBA .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Manufacturer Money + .Hope this helps ISO .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Cash register tape DCRT.Manufacturer MFR . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.Free Standing inserts.coupon dispensed at register after purchase.Name.Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .National Brand NBQ .
purchase price PPHF .proof of purchase PP .No expiration date Nfp .) 145 .sweepstakes form Tear pad .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.Random act of kindness SF .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .specially marked packages SS .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.Try Me Free Triple coupon . etc) SWEEPS .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .while supplies last YMMV .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles . any size OSI .Store form SMP .On a single item POP .a coupon that is good on one purchase.net weight OAS .Universal Product Code WSL .NED . a $1 coupon = $2.
Savings Example 146 .
Savings Example 147 .
Savings Example 148 .
Savings Example 149 .
Savings Example 150 .
Savings Example 151 .
Savings Example 152 .
Savings Example 153 .
How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game.000 to $5. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. retailers and financial institutions. That’s at least $1. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. FKB Group PLC. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES.40% . within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. . If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Discover the system that can save you 30% . 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. and Allied Graphic Arts. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying.000 per year.